Friday, May 27, 2011

Time for Apodaca to take heat for Jimenez's struggles

Ubaldo Jimenez is in the middle of a storied collapse.

After starting the 2010 season 15-1, Jimenez has limped to a record of 4-12 since starting the 2010 All-Star game, including an 0-5 record so far in 2011. His record is terrible, but his lack of dominance is far more concerning than the record.

Jimenez, Jim Tracy, and the Rockies front office continue to insist that the former-flame throwers issues have nothing to do with injury. They insist that it isn't mental, and they insist that he is turning the corner.

The only thing that Rockies fans have been able to figure out is that none of what the Rockies have been telling them seems to be true. Jimenez continues to not just look like he has lost it, he looks like he has no business being on a Major League mound.

In 2010, watching Jimenez was nerve-racking because there always seemed to be a chance for a complete-game shutout. In fact, when a run crossed the plate against the Dominican, it was a huge disappointment. One year later, and Rockies fans would kill for a game in which Jimenez gave up less than five runs, let alone threw a shutout.

As Jimenez enters June before he picks up his first win, tough questions have to be asked.

It is clear that the Rockies franchise is in love with pitching coach Bob Apodaca. He is credited with reviving the careers of many has-been pitchers who have found new life in the thin air of Colorado. He has been praised for the success that the post-humidor Colorado Rockies have had.

However, the reality is, the Rockies have watched two former All-Stars suddenly forget how to pitch under Apodaca's watch.

Aaron Cook was one of the best pitchers in the National League when he took the mound at Yankee Stadium in the midsummer classic of 2008. Those three scoreless innings that he threw may have been the final highlight of Cook's fizzled out career.

Since Cook's appearance in New York in '08, he has been anything but an All-Star. Despite several injuries, Cook was ineffective in the times where he was healthy. In 2010, the right-hander blew 13 leads that his offense gave him. He was completely undependable.

Cook's struggles have gone unfixed.

The fear is that Ubaldo Jimenez may be in the same boat. For two months now, Jimenez has been dealing with "mechanical issues" that are causing him to lose his trademark 99 MPH fastball with movement. He is now throwing a flat fastball that is only traveling in the 93-94 range.

If Jimenez is having mechanical issues, and the problems truly are not due to a mental issue, or an injury, then what is taking so long to fix? Why haven't we seen any improvement. Even with a very good start against the Brewers on Sunday, Jimenez is still lacking the velocity.

When does Apodaca start taking some heat for not being able to help two of his All-Star pitchers through their issues?

Carney Lansford, a Colorado Rockies employee for less than four months, is already hearing fans call for his head after the rough stretch that the offense has gone through. Why does Apodaca continue to get a free pass from the media, and fans when it comes to the struggles of some of the Rockies pitchers?

1 comment:

  1. Dave while I am not gonna bash nor stroke Bob Appodaca, I will tell you he had absolutely nothing to do with Jimenez success and had nothing to do with his failures. These guys have been playing baseball since they were 6 and at no time do they just up and forget how to throw or play the game etc. Way too much of this season is being put on the coaches and we now have a situation where coaching gets too much of the credit for the failures and struggles of a franchise. In the end talent,effort and heart wins out through the course of 162. Which the Rockies have shown very little of any of those things on a consistent basis. Once the players give that then the coaches can make their adjustments accordingly. Way too much emphasis is being placed on coaching and not enough on talent. The ultimate pitching guru Leo Mazzone was given all the credit handling a pitching staff that had 4 sure fire aces take the mound in Atlanta every fifth day and then move him to Baltimore and he gets no results at all. Did he just forget how to coach? The age old question Rockies fans need to ask themselves is now we are calling for the head of Appodaca, Lansford and Tracey. Who do you want to replace them? Which also must mean that Don Baylor was an excellent coach who we ran out of town twice now and had success under him both times. (See above comment for too much credit)The Denver fan base is creating an Al Davis situation here before long where the answer is to just fire the coaching staff and everything will be better. The only magic remedy here is to hold the players accountable for their effort and performance and use your right as a fan to boo them at the ball park. Trust me your heroes will hear you and take it personal and either ask to get out or it will light a fire under their backside and turn this around which both results are acceptable.